Taking Head on the Challenges of the F&B Supply Chain Network

Streamlining Operations for Higher Productivity and Profits

The perishable nature of the food and beverage industry poses a huge challenge for supply chain operations. Not just that, it is a high volume and high transaction intensive sector. When items have an extremely short shelf-life, even a small glitch in one part of the network can have a domino effect, bringing down the entire chain. When dealing with raw materials and final products that have a short expiry span, brands need to be extra careful about all their supply chain and logistics processes. The need to ensure that all supply chain processes right from procurement, manufacturing, order intake, packing, and delivery be done as effectively as possible. Seamless communication, quick movement and a high focus on quality checks are extremely essential for a typical food and beverage supply chain.

When right management becomes key to right efficiency

For the food and beverage industry that deals in high volumes and is sensitive to even a slight variance in market conditions, it is imperative to manage the many aspects of the network as accurately as possible. On a regular basis, the company may see fluctuations in demand, the introduction of new processes or regulations. It will find itself pitted against heavy competition from other brands in the market or maybe. Amidst all these variables and in the face of the ever-changing market conditions, the brand needs to maintain high levels of efficiency in all supply chain operations. Rigidity in management or inability to adapt to changing market scenarios can hamper the quickness and effectiveness of the supply chain. Managers need to pay full focus on planning and implementing the right strategies that will help the supply chain to become technologically advanced, agile and streamlined.

So the larger question is: how can food and beverage companies streamline their supply chain operations?

The world has gone digital. AR and VR technologies are slowly and steadily gaining momentum. In the supply chain sector, to be able to bring to the table quicker and accurate ways to serve your customers, F&B brands need to pay undivided attention to upcoming supply chain solutions that will arm them with invaluable insights.

First and foremost, you need to plan for the future.

You need to take into consideration the various variables that come into play when you run your business. You need to analyze changing customer demands, seasonal changes, regulatory changes, new certifications, new audience base and so much more. Supply chains that are reactive cannot handle the gamut of dynamics that come into the picture. You need to build the right analytics that can give you insights into future movements. Once you are armed with information regarding how your customer base can change or about demand figures, you are in a better position to tackle unforeseen situations. Predicting the future so to say is impossible. You can never be sure of how the next moment will affect your supply chain. But it is important to use the latest technologies that will provide you with critical data points around demand, audience, procurement, inventory and a whole other important bunch of factors, vital for supply chain efficiency.

ERP solutions are a focal point of storing and disseminating information from a central repository.

Thanks to ERP technologies, managers can get a bird’s eye view of all activities occurring in the network. With ERP technologies, managers can keep a track of inventory count and aptly maintain the flow of material and information across the entire chain from procurement to delivery. Technology is important as is the need to collaborate with vendors that understand their vision, understand the market and implement best of breed technologies in supply chain operations to implement their strategies.

 Streamlining operations boils down to preventing human errors.

The best solution to stop inadvertent errors from creeping in into your system is to focus on automation. Automation has become a keyword in today’s digital world. By automating repetitive jobs, you can bring in long term benefits for your supply chain and your business as a whole. When transactional work is left to bots, employees are free to be involved in more value adding work. Besides, by cutting down human intervention, you ensure that processes are error-free. Companies are already plunging into automated technologies for a number of activities. One example is the rise of barcode technology. With such technologies in place, you ensure that plans and processes are carried out in a methodological manner. Automation is important but it is an expensive activity. It involves an overhaul of culture and costs.

Aptly choose technologies and partners who can give you the extra edge

There are challenges galore but to every challenge, there is a solution that will help business build an effective supply chain network. Streamlining the F&B industry’s supply chain begins with building an ecosystem of advanced supply chain management solutions and technologies, and partnering with the best vendors who can help manage all material, information and people processes till raw material are converted into finished goods and delivered to the end consumer.


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